FUV!

Can never get enough of my favorite radio station. Thanks to FUV for playing the new Decemberists album; I’ll Be Your Girl. Go check it out.

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Professor Prokop Smiles…

Hard to believe but after a long, long, long battle with the shuffle I may finally be making some progress. How do I know? My toughest (but awesome) teacher smiled and made a secretive recording of my latest attempt to play Red Barn. He played it back for me afterwards and was positive about this elusive thing I find so darned hard to perfect. This is monumental in my world. (Did I just jinx myself for next weeks lesson?)

Red House

My most recent song I am working on is Red House, Jimi Hendrix. Although this 12/8 blues song is played with triplets I am working on my shuffle and fills to this beauty. Not a small feat. My old lady brain wants to play the triplet it keeps hearing but luckily with practice, practice, practice I am in override mode and it appears to be working.

Been a while…but still drumming

Still drumming faithfully nearly every day. My happy place (most days!) Lessons have been curtailed to once a month due to financial constraints and because I now have three children studying percussion! Practice times must be haggled over some days in order to ensure everyone gets in their time.  It amazes me how each of them is following a percussion path of their own volition and with enjoyment. My son has most recently chosen percussion for his upcoming fifth grade band instrument but ukulele is his first choice! Unfortunately not part of the band kid. My girls continue to pursue their own path within the percussion field. My oldest continues to play with the highest level band at her high school and participates in marching band along with the pit band for a recent showing of 42nd St at her high school. She has also been working on her trumpet skills with occasional lessons and self motivated learning and practice. This summer she will be in Europe touring with a program which provides performance opportunities and cultural experiences geared toward musically motivated high school students. My middle daughter loves the drum set with all her heart. She is part of her middle school band and her middle school jazz band. Watching her grow in her skills and confidence is wonderful to behold.

As for me I am in pursuit of an awesome shuffle…

These Days…

These days I am working on my blues/swing 12/8 time. I had a long discussion with the Professor and decided after just about five years I feel like it is time to veer off and really work on a specific genre of music I love and can see myself playing in the future with a lot of joy. The idea of playing anywhere outside of the basement terrifies me yet I am so hopeful that once I feel more confident with my abilities in other words….very sure….I will be chomping at the bit to mix it up with some like minded folks.

Last Saturday was Record Store Day and I made my pilgrimage to my local shop to pick up some items: “The Charlie Parker Story”; for my Jazz girls, Ghost Song/Drums; special release “Honor the Treaties” produced by John Densmore and Keith Secola; Lyrics by Jim Morrison & music by the Doors; vocals by Floyd “Red Crow” Westerman and John Densmore, Greg Allman special release for RSD & Lucinda Williams; “Down Where the Spirit Meets the Bone.”

Which leads me to…going to see Lucinda Williams this week mostly because I think her drummer; Jonathan “Butch” Norton is something special to watch. In the videos I have seen his percussion is not limited to the set. He integrates all kinds of other percussion instruments and he looks so darned relaxed doing so. I am a wee bit worried he is not on tour with her this time around but really hoping he will be there!

Drum Head Magazine

Picked up a copy of this awesome magazine this month. Boy, was I happy to see there was an article called Micropause! Can you guess what that is? That strange thing I wrote about recently where I feel like there is a disconnect between hands and head when playing. It can seem miniscule but it is a hiccup which can easily cause a drummer to get off the beat and rush to catch up and perhaps to the untrained ear it would not be noticed but when I am playing it feels awful. The reasons for a Micropause are obvious especially for a novice like me but it was comforting to know that others out there experience it too!

Meaty interview with Mark Giuliana who is the drummer on one of the songs I am currently listening to A LOT; When I Met You off of David Bowie’s last album.

Worth a read.

Lesson

Had a lesson this past week. Spent a lot of time on “music theory” and trying to understand correct terminology and ways of writing down drum parts to songs. (read: eyes glaze over and brain short circuits) It is befuddling to my old lady brain no matter how much I try to make sense of it. Sometimes by about the fourth or fifth time the light bulb goes on but other times still lost.

Still on Steely Dan but now have a new fill to learn and unfortunately I am not getting it. My hands are getting tangled and transitioning from the fill back into the groove is waaaaay more tricky than my abilities. Counting helps but not there yet. May need an intervention from the Professor. He did make a recording for me to play with and that is a great tool.

Tone-Loc still on my plate for improv practice. Slightly improving but doing the actual groove has stilted my ability to transition into fills easily. It literally feels like my brain just stops and hands and brain out of sync.

Ahhh, the shuffle groove…Ten Long Years…this is my happy place. This is one that is making me feel like I am accomplishing something and I can see how far I have come along over these five long years. I cannot wait until I can play the shuffle faster!

Still trying to pick up bpm in reading exercise…105 appears to be my max. 110 the goal by next lesson. I keep trying but again I feel like my hands and brain out of sync!

 

Drum Duets!

Got to meet up with my elementary school music teacher today, Mr. Steve Calentropio for a wee bit of drumming and lunch. I sent him a duet to work on over the summer and I learned my part so that when we got together we could actually play. I am happy to report I held my own although he wanted to keep increasing the bpm from the prescribed 120 to 130 to 140! I was very afraid. I do not believe I have ever tried to play ANYTHING so fast before but I did try.

I feel lucky to still have a positive relationship with a teacher from my elementary school days. He was a special one.

A Weekend in Drummergirl(s) House

Friday night Dad had plans outside of the house which gave this Mom some free time to pick her daughters’ brains for some ways to improve her rolls. This impromptu session started the ball rolling into an informal drum off, dance session and overall music chaos! Nothing makes me happier. I love seeing all three of my kids in full on music mode. Dance parties reign. Agreeing on a song is not always easy though.

Sunday brought on the big drum head/bottom changing project and my youngest daughter was on hand to provide assistance. My older one was on hand to provide snarky commentary throughout the process. After reading and rereading the Pearl hand out on changing and tuning drum heads we also decided to use a Pearl tutorial on YouTube the first time out. This was very helpful. After that it was HGTV while we finished the job! They look and sound awesome. Looking forward to a long practice session soon.